Bringing Climate Change Testimonies to the Heart of COP15
12 December 2009, Copenhagen - Using the power of touch-screen technology, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched in Copenhagen the UN Climate Wall, a high-tech installation of HP TouchSmart PC screens embedded with over 100 authentic testimonies and real-life stories describing how climate change is impacting the lives and livelihoods of populations around the world.
The UN Climate Wall is located near the conference hall where world leaders will convene next week, during the high-level segment of the negotiations, to determine whether an ambitious and fair deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions will be sealed.
Sights and sounds from around the globe uploaded on the UN Climate Wall's HP TouchSmart PC screens bear witness to how the changing climate is changing lives. Adapting to the changing climate has become a matter of survival for many local communities.
In a quiet corner of eastern Cambodia, Buddhist monk So Kon is planting trees in the Prey Koki forest, which has lost most of its cover to desertification. "Here in Cambodia our climate is changing. It's getting hotter and the rainfall is irregular. But we believe that these trees can bring rain and help the farmers with their crops and daily life," says Kon.
In Bangladesh, where tens of millions of people are at risk from floods and cyclones, Mohammed Rezwan, a local architect from Shidhulai village, is building floating gardens of hyacinth and straw to grow food. It is a simple technology that makes the difference between life and death.
"By 2050 seventeen percent of Bangladesh will be under the sea. If we do not adapt we will die." Rezwan says. Fazel Mandal, a village resident, adds, "The floods we see now are much bigger than when my father was alive. When we have big floods, we take refuge on the floating gardens with our children, livestock and harvest." His wife, Rapashi, reiterates, "When it rains heavily our homes and fields get flooded. But these vegetables on the floating gardens manage to survive. I make curries out of these vegetables and this allows me to feed my children."
The urgency of a definitive and fair climate deal is the underlying theme of the strong messages posted on the UN Climate Wall by scientists, civil society, political and business leaders, public figures, UN officials and ordinary people.
"Reaching an agreement in Copenhagen is a political and moral imperative. The lives of millions have already been impacted by climate change. Millions more will suffer if we do not act now," said Satinder Bindra, UNEP Director of Communications and Public Information.
"We wanted the voices of the most vulnerable to be heard as their fate, and the fate of the planet, lies in the balance. Using HP technology, the Climate Wall's TouchSmart PC screens allow users to engage and interact with the stories in a very natural and intuitive interface, "touch". We are happy to use this new medium to amplify the voices of the vulnerable and to bring the message across in Copenhagen," Mr. Bindra added.
Built by technology leader HP for the UN Campaign "Seal the Deal!", the UN Climate Wall is a translation of the campaign's promise to bring the voices of the people to world leaders to the historic climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. This wall also contains stories about how HP is delivering new innovative technology to its customers around the world, enabling them to reduce their carbon footprints and make the planet a better place to live.
UNEP, which executed the campaign on behalf of the UN, decided to seek a high-tech solution to ensure negotiators and leaders, participating in the Copenhagen talks, heard the voices of those affected by the impacts of global warming.
For more information, please contact:
Shereen Zorba, Head, UNEP Newsdesk
Cel: +254 713 601 259